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Documentaries at 2017 Sundance Film Festival in US, are Diving Deep into this Year’s Headlines

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Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates. VOA

From the uprising of Ferguson, Missouri, citizens after the police killing of an unarmed black man to Hulk Hogan’s legal war on media outlet Gawker, documentaries at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival are diving deep into this year’s headlines.

The 16 films unveiled in the independent film festival’s documentary competition on Wednesday will debut during the annual 10-day gathering in Park City, Utah, in January.

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Four of the documentaries delve into the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement that rose out of high-profile killings of black men by police in various U.S. cities in the past two years, renewing a national debate about racial discrimination in the American criminal justice system.

“Whose Streets,” premiering on the first day of the festival, goes directly to the heart of the issue in the aftermath of the August 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson.

The documentary focuses on the people in Ferguson who are “frustrated by lack of attention on the real story of what’s happening there,” and includes their own video footage, Sundance festival director John Cooper told Reuters.

“The Force” goes inside the Oakland, California, police department as it deals with the black community’s uprising following the events in Ferguson.

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Two other documentaries, “Quest” and “STEP,” show the indirect impact of civil unrest and class and race struggles for African-American families.

“You really see a lot of different African-American lives on screen that you don’t often see in cinema,” said Trevor Groth, Sundance’s director of programming.

Documentaries have had a resurgence in mainstream popularity in recent years as on-demand streaming services have brought documentary films and series to a wider audience.

“It’s the golden age for documentaries in terms of access to reach their audiences. Netflix, HBO, Amazon are huge players in that role,” Cooper said. “We’re the only major festival that puts documentaries in equal standing with fiction films.”

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“NOBODY SPEAK: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press,” directed by Brian Knappenberger, will be the first film on the landmark $140 million lawsuit this year that shuttered online news website Gawker Media LLC earlier this year.

“It’s a very comprehensive look at the case. It’s the players behind it and … interference of outside forces,” Cooper said.

The Sundance Film Festival will be announcing its full line-up of premieres and events during the coming week. (VOA)

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Spending Time with Little Ones: 10 Documentaries to Watch with Your Kids!

Watching Educational Documentaries With Your Kids Would Open Up The Relationship

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10 Documentaries to Watch with Your Kids. Pixabay
  • Classrooms are not enough anymore, children need to interact with the world with the education they get
  • some documentaries are Planet Earth (2006), Watermark  (2013), Miss Representation (2011), Revolution (2012)  and Paper Clips (2004)
  • These documentaries open up opportunities for discussions of various topics between the parents and their kids

June 25, 2017:

The best way to monitor the development of your child is through spending time with them. Children nowadays are so attracted towards the technological world that the education and morals they get in classrooms are not enough anymore. Therefore, someone who can help them understand things better should help them to deal with it in a better manner. Parents, spending time with their kids can open their relationship to have a two-way communication with their children, thus making their relationship stronger.

The best way to spend time with your kids is through technology and nothing works best like movies because they seem to learn so much from the movies. When you watch movies with your children, there is a possibility that your child will ask questions, because they want to know more and this type understanding or curiosity helps them in a positive manner, also influence them in making choices.

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One can always start with documentaries because free streaming documentaries are present all over the internet and they are full of educational insights. Here is a list of 10 documentaries to watch online with your children:

  • Planet Earth (2006) – The Documentary Planet Earth collection is divided into 50 minute long Eleven episodes that are narrated by David Attenborough and consists of portraiture of wildlife habitat of animal world that prevails on earth. This can help the kids learn about the wildlife habitat and about the different animals that are in our biological sphere.
  • The Dream is Now (2013) – This Movie is based on Immigration reforms and talks about how political agendas affect all kinds of lives. This movie can help the kids develop an understanding about the world affairs and how it is significant to the people.
  • Watermark (2013) – This documentary would explain the children about the relationship of humankind with the water in 20 countries all over the globe. This would help them understand how we use the water on our planet and how can we save it for a sustainable future.
  • What’s on your plate? (2010) – This movie features two children asking questions to food activists and distributers to gain knowledge about nutrition and food politics. This would make your kids rethink about their own eating habits and have a healthy dinner plate.
  • Miss Representation (2011) – This movie is totally based on gender equality all over the world. It would teach the children to not discriminate anyone on basis of gender and respect everyone regardless of their gender.
  • Chasing Ice (2012) – Global warming is unarguably the hot topic in the global world and Chasing Ice opens up such discussions with time-lapse evidence on glaciers melting which also affects the polar wildlife. Your child would defiantly ask you about the ways to counter global warming.
  • Revolution (2012) – Revolution is based on the preservation of resources for the future generations and shifting to renewable sources so that the future generations would have hope of survival in their time. After this movie, you can discuss about the ways you can save natural resources and we need a revolution for the same.
  • Paper Clips (2004) – This movie deeply talks about the Hitler’s holocaust and the students of Whitwell take up in their hands to collect 6 million paperclips to represent the killing of 6 million Jews in the holocaust. This documentary entails on how not only students but adults and older people were also transformed by the experience. It would surely make an awesome topic for discussion of history and culture that has shaped the modern world.
  • Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey (2014) – With Neil deGrasse Tyson’s narration, Cosmos is a documentary made in 13 episodes explains most of space and time concepts with such elegant representation with the graphic images and videos. This would help you tell your child about things that are in deep space.
  • The Square (2013) – The square is one such documentary about the Egyptian revolution at the Tahrir Square in 2011. It features all the tools of modern communication such as phones, videos, and YouTube. This documentary would open up opportunities of discussions of topic around the world that raise questions on the political structure of any country.

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)

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India’s Textile and Fashion Heritage now part of Google project

Google's project 'We Wear Culture' is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India and its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago

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Google's new art project 'We wear Culture' digitizes fashion, Wikimedia
  • Google’s project ‘We Wear Culture’ is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India
  • It intends to trace the story and importance of Indian textiles from ancient sculptures
  • Its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago

June 15, 2017: To a certain extent, a culture is defined by what is worn by its people. In a country as diverse as India, vast and varied spectrum of cultures and clothes is one of the specialties. Google’s latest virtual exhibition project now provides us the opportunity to explore and know more about it.

Google’s project ‘We Wear Culture’ is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India and its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago, from the ancient Silk Road to the unmatched elegance of the Indian Saree,  from the courtly fashion of Versailles, to the Victorian ballgowns with intricate thread work.

According to Amit Sood, director of Google Arts and Culture,”We invite everyone to browse the exhibition on their phones or laptops and learn about the stories behind what you wear. You might be surprised to find out that your Saree, jeans or the black dress in your wardrobe have a centuries-old story. What you wear is true culture and more often than not a piece of art.”

[bctt tweet=” Culture is defined by what is worn by its people.” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

The company also mentioned that noteworthy collections from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and varied weaves from across India, from Gharchola to Patola to Temple to Ikat sarees will be included in the online project, as it intends to trace the story and importance of Indian textiles from ancient sculptures.

ALSO READ: New Google Project Digitizes World’s Top Fashion Archives.

According to PTI reports, the world fashion exhibit also includes designs from north-eastern India including the weaves of tribes such as the Nagas, Meitis. it will showcase the traditional attire from Meghalaya called ‘Dhara’ or ‘Nara’ worn by the Khasi women as well.

As a part of the exhibit, Sewa Hansiba Museum has brought the unique colorful and rich embroidery arts, applique and mirror work from different communities such as the Ahir, Rabari, Chaudhury Patel and many others from the western part of India online.

The exhibition conducted by Salar Jung Museum brings to light the Sherwani and its journey of becoming the royal fashion statement of the Nizams from 19th century Hyderabad. Fashion and textiles enthusiasts can revisit Colonial Indian attires with Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. Over 400 online exhibitions and stories sharing a total of 50,000 photos, videos and other documents on world fashion are open to exploration as well.

The ‘We wear Culture’ initiative highlights significant events in the growth of the world fashion industry; the icons, the movements, the game changers and the trendsetters like Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace, Audrey Hepburn and many more.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang